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To share or not to share your estate plan with beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Estate Planning News

The holiday season is here, and there is much to plan and prepare for. Family gatherings tend to spark various questions. Many say to avoid certain topics, as they could the mood away from carefree and joyful. However, some view these gatherings as a perfect opportunity to discuss their estate plan.

But is this a time to get into the nitty gritty of the plan? Should you tell your loved ones what you intend to pass onto them? Or will your fear of disagreements and upset cause you to limit what your share?

What to share with beneficiaries

There are many benefits with sharing your estate plan with beneficiaries. This is especially true for your children, specifically adult children. Informing your adult children about your estate plan and what they will inherit is likely to make things easier for them after your death. Having knowledge of this information almost creates a path for them while dealing with your loss.

If there are inequities among your children, sharing this now would ensure they understand your thoughts and decisions. This in turn could help evade potential disputes following your death. Keep in mind, if you decide to share your estate plan with your children, you do not need to divulge every details. They do not need to know how much or how little they will get.

If you have created trusts, this would be important to share and explain. Additionally, if you had various advisors helping you with your estate plan, it might be necessary to share this with your beneficiaries. This could ensure your estate plan is executed properly and any clarifications needed are obtained.

What to refrain from sharing

If you do not have children and seek to leave assets to your friends, this might not be something you should share with them. This could impact your relationship, how they treat you and how they interact with other beneficiaries.

Additionally, if you seek to leave anything to extended family members, you might not want to share this either. If there is any expectation to get an inheritance and it doesn’t occur or isn’t what they thought, this could result in disputes and contesting the will.

Navigating how to discuss your estate plan with beneficiaries can be as complex as it is to create an estate plan. Regardless, it is important to consider and move forward with both. A legal professional can provide guidance with these or any other estate planning issues.